WHAT SHOULD WE UNDERSTAND?
According to the law, an ex-president of the Republic of Mauritius, drawing the ex-presidential pension, is not allowed to take any remunerative employment. “A retiring President or Vice-President in receipt of a pension under subsection (1) shall not undertake any remunerative employment during the remainder of his life.”
But after the 2014 general elections, the ex-president SAJ did just that. He was appointed Prime Minister. Was not this an illegal action? Those supporting him argued that he was chosen by the people of Mauritius and could not be considered as an employee. Moreover, he had no employer and was not receiving an emolument but an allowance. That is only ONE way of looking at the situation. Is there another way? Yes, there is!
1. SAJ was recruited by the electorate. Are ‘people’ and ‘electorate’ synonyms? ‘People’ is polysemic and so means many different things; ‘electorate’ has a clearer and more specific meaning. The electorate which chose him is only a ‘recruiting agent’ and not his employer. SAJ is employed by the state which also employs MLA’s, ministers etc. An analogy: the PSC recruits civil servants but does not employ them. The state is their employer.
2. A financial allowance is an honorarium and so is a form of emolument which is taxable.
It seems that the illegal nomination of SAJ as PM has made his government illegal and consequently all decisions of that government under SAJ’s primeministership were illegal and so null and void. His present function as minister is also illegal.
What has caused this confusion? It is the inability of political leaders and some lawyers to distinguish between the state and government. The government is a manager on a five-year contract to run the affairs of the state, the real employer of the government. The state remains while governments come and go. Elections change governments; only a revolution changes the state.